Namibia: Keetmans CEO Demands Apology From Mayor

30 September 2020

The Keetmanshoop Town Council's chief executive officer, Desmond Basson, has demanded a public apology from mayor Gaudentia Kröhne for alleged slanderous remarks she made in an email to fellow councillors about him.

The demand for an apology comes after a series of emails between Basson and Kröhne over an alleged shortage of staff at the council's finance department.

Kröhne accused Basson of incompetence and of failing to ensure adequately staffed cashier points.

"Me and Mrs Farmer [the town's finance manager] must maybe sleep and drink with you before you will start respecting us," Kröhne wrote to Basson, and copied fellow councillors in, also voicing her concerns over the absence of cashiers at the council's office for three days last month.

"Maybe there is something which me and [Rene] Farmer is not giving you, which makes you so angry. Forget about it, sir," the mayor's email further states.

Basson, through his lawyers Letin, Botma & Van den Heever, in a letter of demand dated 22 September, said the words were intended by the mayor and understood by the recipients of her email communication to mean he harbours "abnormal and unacceptable sexual behaviour, and needs sexual favours from her and the council's finance manager, Rene Farmer".

According to Basson's lawyers, the email carries the additional sting that their client has no moral fibre, is a pervert, adulterous and a drunkard.

"By reason of the publication of the said words, and the fact that Mrs Farmer already mentioned in her electronic mail to you, that our client slept with the rest and has to protect them, our client has been injured in his name and reputation, and suffered general damages."

Basson demanded a written apology from Kröhne to him and council members within 10 days in which she must retract her allegations, or he would institute a civil claim of N$25 000 plus costs for damages suffered.

Sources within the council indicated that Basson's lawyers also wrote a letter of demand to Farmer, demanding an apology for slanderous remarks suggesting he slept with staff members.

The chief executive officer threatened to institute a civil claim against Farmer if she failed to apologise to him.

Farmer on Thursday said she was consulting her lawyers.

"I am prepared to defend my case," she said.

Kröhne, when approached for comment on Thursday, said her lawyers would respond to the letter of demand.

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